The Presbyletter

Ionia First Presbyterian Church125 East Main Street, Ionia, MI 48846

May 2021

Worship Is A Shared Experience

What comes to mind when you hear the word Pentecost? Many people think of a mighty wind, tongues of fire, and multiple languages. But Acts 2 begins with another detail that’s just as key: Jesus’ disciples “were all together in one place.” Because they were together physically and spiritually, the early believers didn’t miss the life-changing, world-changing birth of the Church.

The pandemic, while changing our definition of gathering, also highlighted our need for interaction. If Jesus’ first followers hadn’t been assembled on Pentecost, they would’ve missed the outpouring of God’s power and the indescribable joy God had for them. Think about what believers today might miss if we neglect to worship with other friends of Christ. Who would want to miss God’s blessings, promises, and joy?


Sunday Worship
10:00 a.m.

Join us for worship: We are offering worship in-person with precautions
join us for online services on Facebook at First Presbyterian Church Ionia

Holy Communion
First Sunday 
of the month

Session Meeting
May 18
7:00 p.m.


~Food for Families~

Grocery delivery continues to several of our church families. We were blessed with donations from Jen Furman, Shalyn Ralston, and Duane & Judi Emlinger. Shayln and Duane provided us with some of the venison they got this past fall.   
Thank you to all who help with this project whether it is through donations or help with their time.  

~IM Kids 3rd Meal~

IM Kids 3rd Meal is committed to ending childhood hunger in Ionia and Montcalm counties. They provide take-home sack lunches daily to food-insecure children in school systems. They also went out to schools to help serve 3rd meals to virtual students during the pandemic. The meals were available for families to pick up or some were delivered. 

IM Kids 3rd Meal did a fundraiser In March to purchase a truck. The truck will save money from the use of a rental truck and make more trips increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in the meals. The program will expand to offer summer meals to children in Ionia communities utilizing the truck for delivery.

First Presbyterian had a group that volunteered to prepare lunches before covid. They saw firsthand how important it was to the schools to have these meals available to distribute to their students. 

Greenville Area Community Foundation provided a matching dollar grant of up to $10,000.00 for IM Kids 3rd Meal to purchase a used box truck with a lift gate. First Presbyterian gave $200.00 to help in the purchase of the truck to help continue with this program for food-insecure children. 


Yes, we are still collecting plastic bottle caps for the project to recycle and use them to build benches. If you have a sack full that you have been saving, you may drop them off into the shopping cart at the church. Thanks.


March Session Highlights 

 Rev.Helen Havlik, who has moderated session many times when we did not have a pastor, has retired from North Park Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids. Helen endeared herself to many in our church with her kindness and sage advice. In recognition of our deep appreciation, the clerk (on behalf of the session) delivered to Helen a Willow Tree angel figurine.  

The Presbytery annual report cited a 6.4% drop in membership over the 61 congregations.  

Presbytery owns Camp Greenwood and leases it to Greenwood Ministries Association.  The current lease expires December 31, 2021.  At the March 13 meeting, the Presbytery voted not to extend the lease and charged the committee with liquidating the camp by December 2023.  

Session voted to allow the fellowship hall to be used for a bridal shower on April 17 for the couple who will be married in the church on May 29. 

Session voted to return to in-person worship beginning Palm Sunday.

3    Ami Cox

6   Jeremiah Helsius

 7   Margaret Story

 9   James Bosley

16   Marsha Kohloff

18   Evelyn Ransom

19   Kathy VanSyckle

21   David Kohloff

21   Rebecca Speer

24   Wade Arnold

24   Marilyn McKay

25   Marsha Brown

25   Robert Sykes, Jr.

28  Laela Agostini

Special Dates


May 6     National Day of Prayer

May 9     Mother’s Day

May 13   Ascension Day

May 23   Pentecost

May 29   Spooner/Naab Sanctuary wedding

May 30   Trinity Sunday

May 31   Memorial Day

Sunday Worship Workers

May 2     Jen Furman and Cindy Rozich

May 9     Margaret Gregory and Norma Kilpatrick

May 16   Judi Emlinger and Cindy Rozich

May 23   Kathy VanSyckle and Carol Campbell

May 30   Jen Furman and Cindy Rozich

Kosbar Scholarship Fund


There are funds available for scholarships to be granted to qualified applicants at any point in their college careers, undergraduate, or graduate programs. Please call the church office in order to get an application.  Students, your church wants to assist you in furthering your education.

Call 616-527-2320

Administrative Assistant Hours 

Sara Hyland, the administrative assistant, is in the office Monday and Wednesday from 9 AM to 2 PM.  At any other time, leave a message and someone will get back to you ASAP. 


Quarterly Donation Statements

We normally print quarterly donation statements and put them in the memorial room for a few weeks. People attending worship could pick them up thus saving the church postage. After three weeks, those statements not retrieved by hand were mailed. That did not happen for the January-March quarter.

There were formatting issues with the template for donation statements from our new Church Windows software. Sara Hyland has tailored the template to the extent possible to reflect our past practice.  

To save ink and paper, we will not print all the donation statements.  If you would like a quarterly donation statement, please call 616 527-2320 or email  We can either email you a statement or print and mail a paper copy.


Thanks To Our Other Angels 

We have been blessed over the years by people who remember and support our church long after they have moved on to other cities and states. While we always make a point of thanking these folks, it occurs to us that they deserve to be remembered with gratitude more than once or twice a year.  So, when you are counting our blessings, remember friends from the past who help make it possible for us to continue to care for our church, send kids to camps, feed families struggling to put food on the table, use special music to enhance our services etc. So, thank you and bless you Bill, Dottie, Marilyn, Loren, Bob, Janie, Susan, Ron, Margaret and Jon (who passed on last year).

From the editor…

I had occasion recently to go back to our home Presbyterian Church in Ohio. As I entered the door a bulletin board caught my attention. Its title was ‘BE THE CHURCH.’ As I read through it, I was reminded of the song written in the 70’s by Avery and Marsh, two Presbyterian ministers who collaborated musically. Some of the words to the song go like this:

“The church is not a building,
The church is not a steeple,
The church is not a resting place,
The church is a people!

I am the church!
You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus, All around the world!
Yes, we’re the church together!”

I discovered the words on the bulletin board were resource material from the UCC Church. I think they are apropos to us Presbyterians as well. Let’s find new ways each day to…


Session Members / Ministry Team Chairperson / Committee Member

Judi Emlinger*   –  Christian Education, Nominating Perry Gregory   –  Building/Grounds Lee Hunsberger*  –   Stewardship/Budget and Finance Norma Kilpatrick*  –  Treasurer/Budget and Finance Norma Kilpatrick   –  Memorials and Investments Barb Klenk  –  Treasurer

*Session Members

 Marilyn McKay*   –  Mission
Cindy Rozich    –    * Worship
Keith Sterner*   –  Personnel
Warren Thompson*  –  Building/Grounds
Mary Williams*  –  Christian Education
Margaret Gregory  –  Clerk of Session
Kathy VanSyckle*   –  Worship

First Presbyterian Staff

Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn
Sara Hyland
Steve Slaughter

Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982
Administrative Assistant

Newsletter, Calendar and more at
Church Office Hours-Monday through Wednesday
9:00 AM-2:00 PM, Ph# 616-527-2320 

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